Judges 17:9, 10: Micah's Purchase of a Ministry

Verse 9:[1] And Micah said unto him, Whence comest thou? And he said unto him, I am a Levite of Beth-lehem-judah, and I go to sojourn where I may find a place.

Verse 10:[2] And Micah said unto him, Dwell with me, (Judg. 18:19) and be unto me a (Gen. 45:8; Job 29:16) father and a priest, and I will give thee ten shekels of silver by the year, and a suit of apparel (or, a double suit, etc.; Heb. an order of garments[3]), and thy victuals. So the Levite went in.

[Be unto me a father] Micah was older than that Levite, when, nevertheless, he calls him father for the sake of honor (Lapide). One that teaches another is called Father (Drusius). Those that were instructed by the Prophets are called the Sons of the Prophets, 2 Kings 2; 4 (Bonfrerius). Learn from this just how much reverence there was for priests among idolaters also (Lapide).

[And I will give to thee annually ten shekels of silver, עֲשֶׂ֤רֶת כֶּ֙סֶף֙ לַיָּמִ֔ים] Ten of silver, or made of silver (understanding, shekels [Tigurinus Notes, Junius and Tremellius]) for days (Montanus), for a suitable time (Jonathan in Munster), for each day (Syriac), for a day (Septuagint), daily (Arabic). For days, that is, annually (Vatablus, thus Piscator, Junius and Tremellius, Drusius, Tigurinus Notes). Throught the days of a year (Munster). That is, five Joachimsthalers[4] (Serarius). It appears to be a cheap price for a priest (Malvenda). If this sum was determined for him for each day, the Levite would have collected at least two thousand and fifty-five talers annually: but that amount is excessive; it is not a price agreeable to those times (Serarius).

Aethiopic Gospel of Matthew

[And a double garment, וְעֵ֥רֶךְ בְּגָדִ֖ים[5]] And an order (arrangement [Osiander], allowance [Tigurinus]) of vestments (Pagnine, Montanus, Bonfrerius). Equal garments (Jonathan, similarly the Septuagint in Dieu), that is, Two garments of which he might make use in succession (Lapide); distributed according to the order of times (Malvenda): one for the summer, the other for the winter (Lapide, Bonfrerius, Drusius). A matching set of garments (Junius and Tremellius). As much for his own use, as for ministry (Junius): or, one domestic, the other public (Lapide). Interpreters agree that a double garment is indicated here; which I approve. But why this עֵרֶךְ would be used has not yet been sufficiently explained, as far as I know. Perhaps the Æthiopic language will shed some light, in which עֵרֶךְ is used for companion and friend, Matthew 11:19. Therefore, וְעֵ֥רֶךְ בְּגָדִ֖ים is a society of garments, not one only, but also a second companion: as the verb עָרַךְ among the Hebrews certainly includes parity. For it signifies to compare/match, to put on a level; which is done in the valuation of a thing: likewise to adjust one to another, to join suitably, which is done in the disposition of a battleline (Dieu).

A father and a priest; for, a father; that is, a priest; a spiritual father, a teacher or instructor, for such are called fathers: see 2 Kings 6:21; 8:9; 13:14; Isaiah 22:21. He pretends reverence and submission to him; and what is wanting in his wages he pays him in empty titles.

[וַיֵּ֖לֶךְ הַלֵּוִֽי׃ follows in the Hebrew] And the Levite went (Montanus, Jonathan, Syriac, Junius and Tremellius, Tigurinus). And he went on (Pagnine, Vatablus), that is, he followed him (Vatablus). He went, that is, he left for the needed business that Micah prescribed for him (Kimchi in Drusius). And so the Levite went in (English).

[1] Hebrew: וַיֹּאמֶר־ל֥וֹ מִיכָ֖ה מֵאַ֣יִן תָּב֑וֹא וַיֹּ֙אמֶר אֵלָ֜יו לֵוִ֣י אָנֹ֗כִי מִבֵּ֥ית לֶ֙חֶם֙ יְהוּדָ֔ה וְאָנֹכִ֣י הֹלֵ֔ךְ לָג֖וּר בַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר אֶמְצָֽא׃

[2] Hebrew: וַיֹּאמֶר֩ ל֙וֹ מִיכָ֜ה שְׁבָ֣ה עִמָּדִ֗י וֶֽהְיֵה־לִי֮ לְאָ֣ב וּלְכֹהֵן֒ וְאָנֹכִ֙י אֶֽתֶּן־לְךָ֜ עֲשֶׂ֤רֶת כֶּ֙סֶף֙ לַיָּמִ֔ים וְעֵ֥רֶךְ בְּגָדִ֖ים וּמִחְיָתֶ֑ךָ וַיֵּ֖לֶךְ הַלֵּוִֽי׃

[3] Hebrew: וְעֵ֥רֶךְ בְּגָדִ֖ים.

[4] The Joachimsthaler was used in Germany and the Holy Roman Empire. It contained an ounce of silver, and Joachim, the father of the Virgin Mary, was portrayed on it.

[5] עֵרֶךְ signifies an order or row.

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Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.




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